Wednesday, March 21, 2012

MacIver Institute: Delicate Little Flower or School Yard Bully?

Earlier this week I got an email from a Dustin Beilke. I don't know Dustin but it was an opinion column that he wrote about the right wing MacIver Institute. I didn't post it as a guest column on this blog because A. I don't really do that here and B. I didn't have the time to do it properly. But that opinion column did surface elsewhere.

Next thing you know there were reports of people at MacIver disputing things in the column. That is fine, they should do that if they disagree or if they feel the need to correct the record. But at some point it crossed a line in my opinion and became more like bullying of local liberal bloggers and others. I'm hearing that people from MacIver were making both veiled and not-so-veiled threats to drag people into court. People that they know don't have access to the special interest funding that they posses.

With so many old partisan Republican hands over at MacIver, who knew that they would be so super sensitive? Or maybe they are just trying to silence their detractors in schoolyard bully fashion, I can't make up my mind.

Now don't get your wires crossed, this doesn't mean that I personally vouch for every single thing that Beilke said in his opinion column. But I do most definitely agree with the idea that the traditional media should be careful in how they use information that comes from MacIver. Because I do think that it is a right wing spin machine run by long-time Republican partisans with very obvious goals that don't include the production of legitimate straight news. Is having that opinion worthy of being the subject of bullying tactics and threats of lawsuits? No and it sets a horrible precedent.

Previously on this Blog:


John Foust said...

Now that the piece has disappeared, how can we even comment on it?

I saw one error outright - it said Fraley "is" a lobbyist. Fraley "was" a lobbyist.

It claimed Fraley was "director of the Senate Asssembly caucus when it was also knee-deep in the illegal use of taxpayer funded employees".

Fraley will argue that no one under him was charged. Nice spin, but then he's a PR guy. Of course, we know that Rindfleisch was granted immunity in exchange for her testimony. If you look on page 9 of her more recent complaint for Walkergate, you see she says that Fraley directed her in several ways in the earlier scandal.

Bielke's piece said Jensen "even writes some of its press releases." Fraley will also slice hairs by pointing out that Scott Jensen's name was found on the first MacIver PDFs that were released some days before Fraley was hired, and that he's written all the press releases since then. Is it incorrect to say Jensen "writes" (present tense) MacIver press releases? Would it be more correct to say "Jensen wrote"?

(Is Fraley behind the MacIver tweet stream? Yikes, it's crazy.)

I eagerly await MacIver's explanation of what they think was false or true. Think they'll do that? Or will they be happy that they've removed it from BloggingBlue and the Cap Times?

Gareth said...

It's one thing for blowhards to threaten a lawsuit. It's quite another to initiate one and open themselves up to the resulting "discovery process". I don't think the MacIverites really want that.

Testifying under oath requires a different standard of thruthfulness than issuing press releases tarted-up as news stories.